Cool cities 🌳 Coral gene 🧬 Corporate blunder 💸!

Technology News

Google launches new tool to help cities stay cool

Google has unveiled a tool that could help cities keep their residents cool by mapping out where trees are needed most. An easy way to cool metropolitan areas down is to plant trees in neighborhoods where they’re sparse. Google’s new Tree Canopy Lab uses aerial imagery and AI to figure out where every tree is in a city. Tree Canopy Lab puts that information on an interactive map along with additional data on which neighborhoods are more densely populated and are more vulnerable to high temperatures. Google’s new service is free to use and will be updated regularly using images the company already takes by plane for Google Maps.

System can sterilize medical tools using solar heat

Researchers have come up with a way to generate the steam needed by autoclaves – the devices used to sterilize medical tools – using just the power of sunlight. This is usually provided by electrical or fuel-powered boilers, but in many rural areas, power can be unreliable and fuel is expensive. The device, which would require a solar collector of about 2 square meters to power a typical small-clinic autoclave, could maintain safe, sterile equipment at low cost in remote locations. The key to the new system is the use of optically transparent aerogel. The material provides effective thermal insulation, reducing the rate of heat loss by tenfold.

Science News

Scientists Discover CRISPR Gene Editing Technique for Corals To Help It Survive Climate Change

Using the controversial gene-editing technique CRISPR, scientists isolated the gene responsible for heat tolerance in coral from the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. They inserted CRISPR into the fertilized coral eggs, removing a gene from the eggs. The larvae with the gene removed had no problems in water temperature of 27°C but failed to tolerate 34°C. However, the unedited larvae survived in such temperatures without any problem. Now that the scientists have understood what the HSF1 gene can💸 do in corals, they can use CRISPR to make them more heat tolerant and a chance to sustain in the face of climate change and rising ocean temperature.

Smartphone screen time linked to preference for quicker but smaller rewards

In a new study, people who spent more time on their phones – particularly on gaming or social media apps – were more likely to reject larger, delayed rewards in favor of smaller, immediate rewards. Participants who demonstrated greater self-control spent less time on their phones, but a participant’s level of consideration of future consequences showed no correlation with their screen time. These findings add to growing evidence for a link between smartphone use and impulsive decision-making, and they support the similarity between smartphone use and other behaviors thought to be maladaptive.

Business News

Boeing’s 737 Max debacle could be the most expensive corporate blunder ever

The 20-month grounding of the 737 Max could end as soon as this week, but Boeing’s mounting costs have soared to tens of billions of dollars. The plane maker’s repeated safety oversights and mismanagement rank among the most expensive corporate mistakes in history. The costs of the grounding released by Boeing total $20.7 billion with legal liability and interest costs adding up too. Boeing has borrowed billions at a 5% interest rate to keep building 737 Max planes. Only about half will be delivered next year, and some deliveries will stretch as far as 2023. Boeing doesn’t get most of the money until the plane is delivered to the airline, so the interest will pile up.

Apple announces App Store Small Business Program

Apple has announced an industry-leading new developer program to accelerate innovation and help small businesses and independent developers propel their businesses forward with the next generation of groundbreaking apps on the App Store. Developers can qualify for the program and a reduced, 15 percent commission if they earned up to $1 million in proceeds during the previous calendar year. “We’re launching this program to help small business owners write the next chapter of creativity and prosperity on the App Store.” In 2019 alone, the App Store ecosystem facilitated $519 billion in commerce worldwide.

Miscellaneous News

UN issues $100m emergency funding and calls for global effort to avert famine

The UN has earmarked $100m in emergency funding for seven countries deemed at risk of famine, warning that without immediate action the world could see “huge numbers of children dying on TV screens”. The climate crisis, Covid-19, conflict and economic decline have created an “acute and grave crisis” in Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria, South Sudan and Yemen, where millions of people are facing emergency levels of food insecurity. Ethiopia, where drought is exacerbating a growing conflict, is to receive $20m of the money.

Researchers aim to create European historical scents library

A team of European scientists and historians have announced a project to recreate a library of scents from history on the continent. The three-year project, called ODEUROPA, aims to capture what people would have smelled in their day to day lives starting from the 1500s, like the smell of incense and plague repellents. The team hopes to complete an encyclopaedia of European aromas which could give insights into the experience of people from the past. The team plans to make an online archive available to the public, to become the first historical encyclopaedia of scent in the world.

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